Wednesday, July 02, 2008

attracting a younger audience

"My mother recently went to see *Man of La Mancha.*"
That's the setup for another interesting article from the current issue of American Theatre.
And local marketing and managing directors ought to listen up.

A theater in Maryland worked out a deal with three local colleges: Schools get vouchers for tickets. Students use them to see plays for free. The theater "keeps track of the used vouchers and bills back the colleges at a group rate--the money comes out of student-life funding."
The program has grown ten-fold: from 20 students per production to 200.
Key players: getting the community college's VP of learning and director of student life on board.
Problems: students who don't know how to behave during a show (texting, leaving in mid-performance, and worse).

The program attracted diverse audiences -- math departments sent their faculty and students to see *Proof.*
What if ARt were to invite both Catholic parishioners and SNAP activists to *Doubt* in September?


At July 09, 2008 3:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are the youths that thunder at a playhouse, and fight for bitten apples; that no audience, but the Tribulations of Tower-Hill, or the Limbs of Lighthouse, their dear mothers, are able to endure.
Henry VIII (5.4.65-8)

At July 09, 2008 4:58 PM , Blogger Bobo the Theater Ho said...

Rowdy audiences misbehaving during the crush of the crowd to witness the baptism of the future Queen Elizabeth.
Riverside Shakespeare has it in a different scene, at 5.3.60-63.

A ramble about curtain-speeches just before the start of a show:
I'm not sure today's college students get quite that rambunctious at a theater performance, but ... perhaps those curtain-speeches need to be more explicit, extended, and comical. A _sarcastic_ tone ("the people seated next to you will just LOVE it if you talk on your cell phone all the way through the first act"), along with time indications ("the first act will be 55 minutes long, followed by an 18-minute break for you to purchase some M&M's and go potty") might calm the nerves of kids who, quite possibly, have little or no experience of going to the theater and regard movie-going, its closest approximation in their experience, as a _social_ event during which emotions need to be shared on the spot (as with texting, etc.)
God, Bobo sounds so snooty. But he has to admit, people talking during a show make him want to commit impromptu eviscerations.

At July 10, 2008 2:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand corrected. Thanks. Oh, change "mothers" to "brothers." Typo.

At July 10, 2008 3:25 PM , Blogger Bobo the Theater Ho said...

Are you kidding? An apt quote. Thanks for sharing it. At Whitworth, Bobo taught 30 of the 38 plays; he has seen 32 of them onstage (and, if you count movies, all of them performed except Two Noble Kinsmen, which he regrets not seeing at Ashland a few years back). Anyway, H8 is one of those plays he's neither seen onstage (only the BBC film from, like 1978) or taught it. So thanks for reminding us about an obscure scene.


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